Skip to main content

DOJ Opens Pattern or Practice Investigation into the Mount Vernon Police Department

On December 3, 2021, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams announced that the Department of Justice opened a civil pattern or practice investigation into the Mount Vernon Police Department, pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.  The DOJ investigation will assess whether there is reasonable cause to believe that MVPD engages in a pattern or practice of: (1) discriminatory policing, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Safe Streets Act, and the Fourteenth Amendment; (2) using excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (3) conducting unlawful strip and body cavity searches, in violation of the Fourth Amendment; or (4) mishandling evidence, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The investigation will be conducted by a team of career civil attorneys from the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division and the Civil Division of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.  Individuals who wish to share information related to the investigation are encouraged to contact us via email at, by phone at 1-866-985-1378, or through the Civil Rights Division’s Civil Rights Portal, available at

Updated December 3, 2021